So today I have been alive for 28 years. 2.8 decades. 10,220 days. 245,280 hours. 14,716,800 minutes. That is a lot of minutes. So much can happen in just one minute. It takes mere seconds for a new life to be created, for a life to end, for an idea to appear in your mind, for something to happen that will change your life forever. And in one simple breath it can all disappear. And what if it did? What if you were about to take your last breath? Would you be afraid? Would you be content? Would you be regretful? 10 years ago, did you think you would be doing what you are doing now in 10 years? Probably not. But are you happy with how you got to today? That is the important question. When I was in junior high, 28 sounded old. 45 sounded nearly dead. Today, I feel healthy, happy, vibrant, blessed - young. I look forward to every day, to every lesson, to every challenge, to every fork in the road and every decision that brings me further along my path in life, whatever that path may be.
The '20s' have been a roller coaster of emotions, decision-making, self-discovery, hard-learned lessons, reflection and the firestorm of anxiety and hormones just to make it all a little more interesting. I have become more assured, more self-aware, and have gained more clarity as to what is truly important to me and what it is that I really want out of this life. I have solid, valuable and cherished relationships with my family and my friends that I consider to be family - that I know will never weaken, regardless of where we live in the world and how many times a month we actually get to hear each other's voices. I have learned that what I thought I wanted my career to look like may not be what it is going to actually look like, nor what I want it to look like anymore. I have learned that I am capable of far more than I ever would have imagined, even 5 years ago. I have learned that "you get what you earn" (thank you, Adam) - and if you show up to the table and give of yourself, your return on investment will be ten-fold. I laugh sometimes when I think about my 'senior quote' in high school. "Give the world the best that you have and the best will come back to you." At the time, of course my 17-year-old brain wasn't fully understanding of the scope of this and the true depth of what it carried. It was just something that really resonated with me, and a nice summary of how I wanted to live my life and what I wanted others to try and live by as well. And now, it is a philosophy that has expanded, deepened, branched out in so many ways in my life and in my psyche that I feel it is subconsiously ingrained in everything I say and do. At least I hope it is.
I have seen and experienced things that I would have only dreamed about seeing and doing when I was a child, and I have given as well as received love at such magnitudes that I could never express my gratitude in words. Every experience that I may have perceived as negative at its time has always, without fail, manifested itself in a positive light down the road. That of course, is typically a matter of chosen perspective. It is a perspective that is hard to maintain at times, when we see people doing such atrocious things to others and behaving in such selfish ways that negatively impact so many others. It is so frustrating. I used to be of the vengeful mind...fight fire with fire...focus on doing everything possible to fight against what we perceive as 'wrong' or negative in the name of what we feel is 'right' or positive... but I have found that my desire to simply focus on only the positive and do more ignoring of the negative is much more productive, less stressful, and healthier. Energy is much better spent in the manner of building yourself and others up, inspiring good, empowering the weak and vulnerable, supporting those that seek and need support...rather than expending so much energy 'fighting the baddies', when the baddies will never turn into 'goodies'. So let the sucky people suck is what I'm saying. Let them wallow in their own suckiness. They will continue to suck, regardless of the energy you spend thinking about or telling them how much they suck. That is their chosen path. Don't let their suckiness affect YOU. Rise above, choose to see the silver lining, the rainbow, the lollipops, the unicorns, whatever it is that symbolizes the good for you. And then BE that good. Everywhere, all the time, in your actions, in your words, in your interactions with all other humans. It will be infectious in ways that you may never even know about and affect others in positive ways that you may never see. And it WILL come back to you, exponentially. I promise. Find your strengths and focus them. Maximize your potential as a human. Then find the strengths in others and call them out. Build them up. Help them maximize their potential as well. These ripples are what will change the world for the better. And eventually, if we all project enough good, it will hopefully overpower the loudness of the bad.
It has been an incredible and interesting 28 years, and yes, I am most definitely happy with every step that I took to get to this day, because this day is BEAUTIFUL. And so are you. So get out there, give all that you are, and don't waste one breath.